Reducing Hours at work

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Good Afternoon, 

I was diagnosed with Polychythemia Vera last January and I have struggled to deal with what this will mean for me long term. I have decided that due to the tiredness I feel from working full time that the best thing for me to do would be to look at reducing my hours at work as this will allow me more time to rest. I have worked out my finances and want to reduce from 5 days down to 3. What is the best way to start this conversation with my employer? 

  • Hello  

    Thank you for your question. My name is Polly and I am a work support adviser on the Macmillan support line

    I am so sorry to hear about your recent diagnosis of Polycythaemia Vera, this is classed as a cancer diagnosis. If you need more information about this condition  and its management please get in touch with our support line services.

    From the date of diagnosis, the employer is under a legal obligation under the Equality Act 2010 or the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (If you live in Northern Ireland) to make reasonable adjustments to help you at work. Cancer is automatically classed as a disability under both these acts.

    It is important to remember that these duties are only engaged once the employer knows you have a disability so it is important to disclose your health issues. You can learn more about the confidentiality of your health information on the ACAS website.

    Reasonable adjustments in the workplace are changes made by employers to support employees with disabilities so that they can perform their jobs to the best of their abilities. Here are some examples of reasonable adjustments in the workplace:

    1. Adjusting work hours or schedule to accommodate medical appointments or treatments.
    2. Providing assistive technology, such as screen readers or voice recognition software, to support employees with visual or physical impairments.
    3. Modifying job tasks to reduce physical or cognitive demands or to eliminate tasks that an employee is unable to perform due to their disability.
    4. Providing additional training or support to help employees learn new tasks or adapt to changes in the workplace.
    5. Allowing employees to work from home or providing flexible work arrangements to accommodate their needs.

    The specific adjustments will depend on the individual needs of each employee and the nature of their job.

    You have identified that you will cope better if you reduce your hours. Some people might be persuaded to request Flexible working. This is an employment right which is engaged from six months after your start date in this job.

    We always suggest that a request for reasonable adjustments is the most effective request because you are struggling with health problems. Flexible working requests can be rejected for business reasons, but a reasonable adjustment request can only be rejected if it's unreasonable (for example it is too expensive).

    There are several ways to request reasonable adjustments:

    I hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions or worries about making this request please do not hesitate to get in touch.


    Work Support Advisor
    Remember you can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or by email